Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Dec 2012

Dr Annemarie McAllister – Band of Hope, Children’s Temperance Movement.
A Chorley Follow-Up by John Harrison

Following Dr. McAllister’s recent talk, I was interested to find four references to the Band of Hope when recently searching through the 1872 editions of the Chorley Standard. Three of the meetings took place at White Coppice School.
The meetings on 4 March, 19 October and 14 December strongly featured the local Anglican clergy, the Vicars of Heapey and Whittle le Woods, and Alfred Ephraim Eccles

Alfred Ephraim Eccles

Eccles lived at Albion Villa (now known as “Northwood”) in the village, owned the local mill and was probably the most important lay supporter of temperance in the Chorley area.
The first meeting had as its centrepiece an address on temperance by the Chaplain of the Salford County Goal. He stated that 90% of the prisoners owed their imprisonment to the influence of strong drink. Other speakers were the Vicar of Whittle, and Jabez Baron and James Southworth from Abbey Village who spoke about the benefits of abstaining from drink and tobacco. Reference was made to a Band of Hope having recently been formed in Withnell and there were recitations and songs from “the young people.” The school room was full.
The second meeting, in October, again found the school “well filled”, and began with singing and prayer. There was no guest speaker on this occasion, but the meeting seems to have been called soon after the local Brewster Sessions when licences were issued and reviewed for Beer Shops and Public Houses. The Vicar of Heapey, who chaired the meeting, gave an account of his role at the Sessions, with the inference that he had fought the temperance cause. (The Chorley Brewster Sessions occurred annually in September and were often reported at length in the Chorley Standard.) Other speakers were the Rev. Gardiner of Whittle who had been a total abstainer for 13 years, and Mr. Eccles. Mr. Eccles believed that it was not possible to prevent licence renewal of most existing licensed premises, and therefore advocated petitioning parliament and only voting for candidates who were in favour of “prohibiting the liquor traffic” in parliamentary elections. The meeting then heard recitations of temperance pieces and songs from a Miss King and the Band of Hope Choir.
I have not found a report of the third meeting in White Coppice, but it was advertised by a public announcement in the Chorley Standard on 23 November. It gave three weeks notice of a Band of Hope Tea Party to be held at White Coppice School under the aegis of the Heapey Temperance Society. A further advertisement on 7 December gave additional information. Tea was at 5pm and those attending included the Vicars of Heapey and Whittle, Mr. Eccles and Mr. William Ashton of Halliwell.
The fourth Band of Hope meeting in 1872 which I found reported in the Chorley Standard occurred in November and was reported on 9 November. It was held at the Eaves Lane Sunday School. “A Band of Hope” meeting had taken place the previous Monday with “a good attendance.” Whether this was a first meeting on a regular meeting is not clear. It was chaired by Mr. W. Solloway. Four men gave addresses to the meeting; a recitation was given by John Moss jun.; “temperance melodies were sung by Messrs. M. Hart, Robert Hart and Peter Hart. “At the close 41 persons signed the pledge”.
Drink and Temperance were clearly big issues in 1872 Chorley from the evidence in the Chorley Standard of public temperance meetings and regular reports of prosecutions for drunkenness. Band of Hope meetings may well have been under-reported if they largely involved young people. The meetings reported above may have been reported because either they involved important persons from the local community or related to the setting up of a new group.

John E Harrison
December 2012

Sources: Chorley Standard 9 March, 26 October, 9 and 23 November, 7 December 1872.
Heapey, Wheelton and District: A Pictorial Record of Bygone Days by Kenneth Hodkinson (1987)